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487 — Cavanaugh on Collaboration, Change and Carrots

Copy of Veterinary Voice (3)

Cavanaugh on Collaboration, Change and Carrots

Wayne Cavanaugh awarding Winners Dog at the 2001 English Setter Association of America. The handler is Elliott Weiss.

Wayne Cavanaugh joins host Laura Reeves for part two of their conversation. Today they are talking about collaboration versus competition, changes for better and worse in purebred dogs over time and how carrots work better than sticks in implementing initiatives.

Cavanaugh shares stories from his time at the United Kennel Club, building programs and growing the organization, including creating a system that incentivized breeders to DNA test their dogs.

“I had two ways to do that,” Cavanaugh said. “One I could say it’s mandatory, you can’t enter (without DNA)… With coonhound guys, that would not work out. So, we started a program that if you got a (DNA) number you could put it in your ad in the magazine. When offspring of that DNA profiled dog won anything, (the sire) got points. Those points turned into dollars. At the end of the year, owners of those dogs got a check. Some of them got a big check.

Hands-on and possibly quirky would best describe Cavanaugh’s managerial style, from answering the phones at UKC headquarters to driving his motorcycle to work and parking it in the hallway.

“One thing I recommend every business do. I’d shut it (UKC offices) down for two days every year. We rented this gorgeous conference room here in town. And I did two days of telling every single department employee exactly why their job is important and here’s how much money we’re making. Here’s the percentages of growth, not the dollars. Here’s where we’re growing. Here’s why your job down here made this happen.

“We just tried to do that, to keep things human.”

Collaboration

“One of the things I did in Kalamazoo, was I invited every registry that was over 100 years old in America to come to Kalamazoo for a conference … We (needed to be) working together because we had animal rights issues to work with, we had zoning things, we had breed specific things to worry about.”

Changes

“When my dad was breeding Beagles, we put an ad in the local newspaper. Someone would buy a puppy from us. You give us the money, we give you the papers. No limited (registration), no contract, whatever. Then they would call a year or two later … and say ‘Ray, my cousin’s nephew’s electrician has a Beagle and we’re going to plug them in. You wanna help?’ My fater would help. The people would go through the process, the kids witnessed the miracle of birth, it was a mess, they never did it again. But people had pets. They had purebred pets. Maybe they didn’t look so great, who are we to tell him this, they loved him anyway. What was wrong with Americans have ugly Beagles or ugly Irish setters are ugly whatever’s? There was nothing wrong with that.

There’s a reason people like Goldendoodles. We did part of that, at least part of it, to ourselves. (We need to) take some ownership. I send friends of mine who wanna Labrador to Labrador breeder. They say ‘hey they were nice, dogs are great, but I don’t have two years to wait. I’m 37th on the waiting list, they gave me this 90-page contract, they want to come to survey my yard and turn in my work hours … we just wanna pet!’

 

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